Tomer Devorah (Rav Moshe Cordovero) Ch. 3
תומר דבורה – פרק ג
. . . שכמו שהחכמה העליונה אינה מבזה שום נמצא והכל נעשה משם, דכתיב (תהילים ק"ד, כ"ד) "כלם בחכמה עשית", כן יהיה רחמי האדם על כל מעשיו יתברך. . . ועל דרך זה לא יבזה שום נמצה מן הנמצאים, שכולם בחכמה, ולא יעקור הצומי אלא לצורך, ולא ימית הבעל חי אלא לצורך . . .
Just as the Higher Wisdom does not disdain any creature, and causes everything, as it is written in Tehillim, “You made them all with wisdom” (Psalms 104:24), so should people’s mercy be upon all God’s works… Along these lines, a person should not treat anything disrespectfully, for all were made with wisdom. He should not uproot a plant except where necessary, and he should not cause the death of a living creature except where necessary. [Translated by Harold Fisch]

Suggested Discussion Questions:

1. What does it mean to treat everything with respect?

2. How should I treat an annoying fly buzzing around my head? Why?

3. What does this source teach us about how we could relate to other plants, trees, and animals today?

Time Period: Medieval (Geonim through the 16th Century)